Clara Hardy of Sovereign Lake Nordic Club double poles to the finish in the Alberta Cup Classic race. (Photo Submitted)

Sovereign skiers challenge Olympians

Early-season racing hasd the Sovereign Lake cross country ski team ringing up fabulous results

Early-season racing took the Sovereign Lake cross country ski team to Canmore at the beginning of December for the Alberta Cup.

A lack of snow at the Canmore Nordic facility meant some adjustments to the race and race course, but the hosts managed to put on a great event.

The Sovereign skiers hadn’t attended the Alberta Cup before, but new coach, Eric de Nys, saw it as a great opportunity to get some good racing in prior to the start of the B.C. Cup series.

A total of 13 racers attended the event, from Mini Midgets to Mighty Masters. Results showed that Sovereign skiers were well prepared for the season start, with several top-5 and top-10 performances.

Ian Oliphant grabbed fourth in the Junior Boys skate technique on Saturday and fifth in the classic event on Sunday. Paige Latta had a 10th in each race, while Clara Hardy had an eighth and 12th placing in Junior Girls.

In the Juvenile boys, Torin Andrews cinched sixth and fifth spots, with Lucas Sadesky taking ninth and 10th. These results saw both skiers reach the podium for their age.

The other Sovereign racers also had solid performances, including Midget racers Sierra Munroe (third for age group) Evan Sadesky (third and sixth) and Parker Munroe, as well as Maddie Land, Danica Ariano, Hannah Stoker (Junior Girls), Julian Hudson (Junior Boys) and the lone Master racer, Chris Andrews.

Last weekend saw the team back in action at home when Sovereign Lake hosted the Haywood NorAms. The event had over 450 participants, with elite skiers from across Canada and the U.S.

Unlike Canmore, snow conditions were great, and coach de Nys was very happy with how all the racers attacked the hilly courses.

Hannah Mehain, now training with the Okanagan Racers, handily won the A final in the Junior Women’s Classic Sprints on Saturday, while Paige Latta, racing up a category, finished fifth in the B final. Latta had a runner-up in Sunday’s skate race, followed by Clara Hardy in sixth.

Lucas Sadesky and Torin Andrews also had strong races, finishing fifth and seventh in the skate. Joining the team for their first race of the season and showing great form were Peder Ree (seventh in skate race), Nate Hardy and Camile Hanry, all racing in the Midget categories.

Bob Thompson of Thunder Bay, a PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic hopeful made his presence known in the sprints on Saturday with the first win of the NorAm season.

“I was happy with my qualifying spot and focussed on staying near the front in the heats to control things,” said Thompson. “I felt solid and strong in the finish and had probably my closest sprint finish ever.”

The fastest women around the course of Saturday, Kaitlynn Miller (Carftsbury, Vermont), raved about the superb shape at Canada’s largest cross-country ski club.

“The course was a lot of fun and the conditions were unbeatable.”

Two separate events have the skiers in action again this weekend, with another NorAm event in Rossland, and a regional biathlon event at Sovereign Lake. Volunteers are still needed to help with the biathlon event that runs Saturday and Sunday. Email info@sovereignlake.com for more information.

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